Soon, new tech to check air quality on mining routes



As iron ore mining activities commence at Bicholim after a gap of over six years, the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) in a major move has decided to do away with the conventional or manual method of air monitoring along the ore transportation routes. 

The Board is set to install Continuous Online Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations (COAAQMS) along the 23 iron ore transportation routes across North and South Goa to measure parameters like Particulate Matter (PM10), PM 2.5, Nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide. 

The online ambient air quality monitoring will be carried out in compliance with the guidelines issued by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Revised Ambient Air Quality Standards notified in November 2009, sources said. 

Currently, the ambient air quality monitoring is conducted through a manual method-analysis of pollutants measured once every six days where data is transferred manually. 

Under the continuous method, automatic real-time data collection of pollutants measured is done. 

Sources informed that the Board is of the clear view that the Conventional method of air monitoring along the mining belt will not serve the exact purpose of monitoring the dust pollution along these routes, which are also under the scanner of the Bombay High Court at Goa. 

Sources said that the Board members, during its recent meeting, decided to monitor air quality at all mining transportation sites so that Board gets data of air quality when mining is in operation and when it is shut.

"Only COAAQMS will provide effective surveillance and data of dust pollution in mining areas for necessary action," sources said adding that the installation will be completed before commencement of fresh ore transportation. 

“If we witness air pollution during transportation of ore, we will immediately direct the authorities to bring it under control or stop the transportation,” sources said. 

Mining in Goa came to a halt in March 2018 after the Supreme Court quashed the second renewal of 88 mining leases. However, the transportation of e-auctioned ore continued along certain mining routes.

Now, with M/s Vedanta Limited commencing fresh mining activities at its Bicholim Mineral Block, heavy vehicle movement is expected to increase. 

Manual monitors to measure air quality have been used since 1984-85 by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), which was later renamed the National Air Quality Monitoring Programme (NAMP) network.

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